Christmas Angels and H.E.R.O.s

This time of year, thoughts naturally turn to fond childhood memories of Christmases from years --- or, for some --- decades, past.  Songs of “tiny tots with their eyes all aglow” echo over the airwaves. 

Rudolph, Santa, Frosty and dozens of other characters slumbering in film and video vaults suddenly awaken for an annual TV appearance.  Ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, scarily convert greedy curmudgeons into generous benefactors to crippled children.

In deed, the Christmas songs and stories put focus, not only, on children, but also, on the child in all of us.  Nonetheless, in the midst of the focus on modern children, we must stop and remember the child that began Christmas.

Born into the lowliest of circumstances, that child would grow into a “world changer.”  However, before that happened, Herod, an evil man, tried to kill him.  The Christmas child’s earthly father, divinely warned, left everything and moved the family to a distant place for safety and security.

Unfortunately, even today, there are still evil men who seek to harm children.  However, unlike Herod lusting for power, these evildoers hurt vulnerable children for a perverse, different kind of lust.

Sadly, too, in many of these vulnerable children’s homes, there is no father for a Christmas angel to visit and warn.  Sometimes, even when a father is at home, he isn’t watching for a warning, divine or otherwise, that his child is in danger. 

Warily, evil predators surreptitiously steal into children’s homes through an unguarded Internet connection to prey upon their victims.  On line, these wicked men pretend to be interested, kind and even generous.  Far too often, these stratagems lure children to fates at the hands of these predators too revolting to describe in public.

Fortunately, real life heroes have joined the battle against this evil.  Furthermore, these people are heroes many times over.  In most cases, they have left military service with life altering, battlefield injuries that would have sidelined others.  However, these heroes have bravely stepped up to serve, yet again.

Last spring, Oak Ridge National Laboratories hosted the first phase of special training for the first class of these brave people.  This group graduated and is, now, helping law enforcement catch and convict evil, Internet, child predators.

In this wonderful season when many children sleep with “visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads,” remember some are under attack.  These brave heroes, like guardian angels, are silently fighting evil in, perhaps, one of its worst forms. 

The best Christmas presents to give any child are safety and security.  These veterans, now serving in the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (H.E.R.O.) child-rescue corps, are doing just that for hundreds of children.  

As a result, in this wonderful time of celebration and giving, there is, yet, another reason for celebration.  Our nation is blessed to have such dedicated citizens who volunteer to serve, sacrifice and serve, again.  It should make anyone proud and pleased to call these people “fellow Americans.”

If you are interested in helping more heroes join the fight against evil, contact the National Association to Protect Children at www.protect.org.    

An Early Merry Christmas!!! 

John Ragan, State Representative for District 33

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